You don’t have to be a soccer fanatic to understand how truly awesome the U.S. women’s World Cup win is. So you can have a full and fine appreciation, here, with help from our Facebook followers, are 9 ways the triumph raised the bar, shifted the paradigm, shattered the ceiling—and otherwise rocked:
#9 The U.S. women’s soccer team now stands alone, being the only women’s team to have captured three World Cups.
#8 We have more star athletes worthy of our admiration: “At a time when pro sports are marred by stories of bad behavior, big egos and rule breaking, the U.S. women’s World Cup team inspired us while reminding us what it looks like to be a team player, work tirelessly toward a goal and show good sportsmanship.”—Nicole Panagopoulos Basham
#7 The finale game smashed assumptions about the appeal of sports played by women, the finale game drawing almost 23 million viewers, almost as many as the last game of the most recent World Series and NBA championships each drew, according to Forbes.
#6 As a result, the pay gap may close—starting in the sports arena: “It has been fantastic to see this team rise to the top and for the country to be paying attention. Female athletes aren’t paid nearly as much as men, though they work just as hard, and [hopefully the increased visibility] will help change the tide overall.”—Kristin VanderHey Shaw
#5 The soccer players’ rise is part of an overall positive trend: “A female referee is making her debut in the NFL this year. It’s been a great year for women in sports and I hope it keeps up!”—Lisa Caldwell
#4 Girls have new action heroes who happen to be women: “One of my daughters is interested in sports and what she calls ‘boyish’ things. She was worried that people would think it was weird for her to have a Spider-Man party. We used the US women’s soccer World Cup win as a example to her that women can be just as (if not more) powerful than men.”—Virginia Woodruff
#3 So do boys: “Why is their win inspiring just to daughters and not sons? I am raising my son to celebrate women athletes.”—Steph Singer
#2 Young generations have this attitude: “My daughter was confused why everyone was excited about the win. [She said,] ‘Mom, girls win all of the time….’”—Melissa Madole-Kopp
#1 Meme: #Shebelievedshecouldsoshedid